latest iPhones and iPads recording video in 4K at 60 frames per second, you can quickly run out of storage space – especially if you’ve only got 64GB of storage to play with.
Quite apart from the fact that it’s a bad idea not to have a
backup of these precious memories, you’ll want to copy those big videos off your iPhone to free up space. Here’s how to get videos from iPhone to PC quickly and easily – and for free.
Using a Lightning cable
There are literally dozens of Windows apps that let you manage your iPhone’s storage and can transfer photos and videos to and from your PC. But you don’t need any of those, and you certainly don’t need to pay for software.
Heck, you don’t even need iTunes – it’s just as easy as dragging and dropping files from an Android phone or USB flash drive.
All you need is a laptop or
PC running Windows, and the USB cable that came with your iPhone or iPad. If you haven’t got that to hand, you can grab one on
Amazon for as little as £6.99.
Step 1. Connect your iPhone / iPad to your PC using the Lightning cable (or 30-pin if you’re hanging on to your iPhone 4S or earlier).
Step 2. Press Windows key + E to launch a File Explorer window.
Step 3. Wake your iPhone and unlock it. Tap ‘Trust this computer’ if prompted.
Step 4. Click on your iPhone under This PC (or My Computer on earlier versions of Windows).
Step 5. Double-click on Internal Storage on the right, then on DCIM, and you’ll see one or more folders, labelled 100APPLE, 101APPLE, 102APPLE etc.
Step 6. If you want the most recent videos, click on the folder with the highest number. The oldest ones are in the folder with the lowest number.
Step 7. Photos, screenshots and videos are displayed in a list with ascending numbers according to their chronological order. You can either select everything in the folder, or just select the videos.
Top Tip: Hold the Ctrl key while clicking on various files to select them. You can also sort the folder By Type so that all the .MOV files – the videos – are all together.
Step 8. You can then right-click on the selected files, copy them and paste into a folder of your choosing.
If your iOS devices aren’t recognised by Windows when you plug them in, we cover
how to get your iPhone or iPad to show up in File Explorer separately.
Using iCloud Photo Library
There used to be a Windows program called iCloud Control Panel, but Apple retired that a few years ago and offers an updated one in its place:
iCloud for Windows
This works with Apple’s iCloud Photo Library, present on all devices running iOS 8 or later. This replaces the older Photo Stream functionality that backed up photos but not videos. With Photo Library, photos and videos are constantly synced to iCloud, and your other devices such as a PC or laptop.
There is a catch, however. Unless all your photos and videos will fit into your free 5GB of iCloud storage, you’ll have to pay to upgrade to get more storage. It’s 79p per month for 50GB, £2.49 for 200GB or £6.99 for 1TB.
Again, to clarify, you can only enable iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone or iPad if you have enough available storage capacity in your iCloud account.
Once you’ve set this up (which also involves enabling iCloud Photo Library on your phone or tablet – the option is under Settings -> Photos), you can download iCloud for Windows from the link above. Launch it and next to Photos, click Options. Here you can tick the box next to ‘Download new photos and videos to my PC’ and you can choose the folder where they will be stored.
You can also – if you want to – upload all the photos and videos from a certain folder on your PC to iCloud Photo Library so they’re available on all your iOS devices.
Also, note that this method – obviously – requires iCloud to be enabled on your iPhone or iPad. Plus, the software only works with Windows 7 or later.
Using third-party cloud storage services
If you don’t like the sound of iCloud for whatever reason, you’ve always got the option of using a third-party cloud storage service to back up and transfer your videos from your iPhone to your PC, although the process depends on the storage service you opt for.
We’d recommend using
Google Photos, an off-shoot of the Google Drive app that backs up your entire photo and video library free of charge. Once backed up, you’ll be able to access your favourite videos from the
Google Photos website on your PC.
There are a couple of catches, as with most things in tech: you’ll have to either pay for storage if you want to save full-resolution videos or accept Google’s unlimited storage with limits on video quality. Videos will be reduced from 4K to 1080p, and photos will be compressed, although it’s a very impressive compression method that doesn’t really have an overall effect on image quality.
Google Photos also offers the ability to delete all photos and videos from your iPhone once backed up to iCloud, allowing you to free up valuable space on your device while still being able to access your content via the Google Photos app.